Candidate Survey: Wes Adams for Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney
Office Sought and District
Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney
B.A. Political Science & English from Amherst College, J.D. Catholic University Columbus School of Law
Trending: Jacobins on the St. Mary’s
Elected County Wide as State’s Attorney in 2014 – Running for Re-election
Why are you running for office?
I ran for office in 2014 because the Office of the State’s Attorney had declined into a case processing office, focused on easy pleas , without regard for its broader responsibility to the community, both through strong prosecutions and substantial community outreach for prevention and education.
As an 18 year prosecutor at the time, who along with my wife, was raising his family in this county, I knew we could do better.
Since taking office, I have upgraded nearly every facet of the office, technology, training, trials, convictions, sentencing, out reach and prevention. I have created a Domestic Violence Unit, Introduced intelligence driven prosecution, as well as analytics into the office, and dramatically changed the culture into one that demands accountability for criminals by advocating for substantial sentences for those who commit crimes in our county. Under my administration, we have completed the first local run wire tap investigation, leading to the largest single heroin seizure and arrest in County history. We have increased the homicide conviction rate to 93% and the Felony Domestic Violence Conviction rate to 86%. Domestic Violent offenders now go to jail 50% more than just three years ago.
I have combined this strong approach to crime and accountability with unprecedented partnerships. As the first prosecutor in the United States to partner with police, fire and county mental health agencies, we have created a national model in our Safe Stations program leading to a 12% decrease in overdoses in our County in 2018. We partnered with our Court system to double the size of our drug court program and to create a Veterans Court program and our community outreach partnership with our public schools resulted in my office’s selection as the 2018 Business Partner of the Year for Anne Arundel County Public Schools Excellence in Education Awards. As a result of this work, in part, we have see a decrease in crime of nearly 900 major criminal incidents annually since 2014.
This is a short list of the accomplishments we have gained in just my first term. I am running because the old regime of soft on crime and easy plea prosecutors have teamed up to challenge the progress the office has made under my leadership and this county cannot afford to go backwards. Accountability for criminal behavior is essential to creating opportunities for second chance. Easy pleas, poorly trained prosecutors and backwards technology – the philosophy I was elected to replace and the one my challengers represent – is a bad recipe for keeping a community safe.
Who do you consider your political role model, and why?
As a new candidate in 2013, Nic Kipke and Steve Schuh, both spent time and energy helping me develop as a strong candidate. They have provided a sounding board for understanding the political landscape and I value their insight and wisdom as I have developed as an elected official.
What is your favorite book about politics and policy, and why?
What will be your top priority in elected to this position?
In 2017, I introduced an intelligence driven prosecution model into the office that combines boots-on-the ground police work with analytics and various open source data investigatory techniques that are designed to locate and target drivers of criminal activity in the community. I will be focused on located, investigating and prosecuting the high level offenders in the community in order to disrupt criminal organizations.
What is the biggest issue facing your county?
The introduction of Fentanyl into the drug market which has created a dramatic increase in overdose deaths. So while we have seen a marked decrease in overdoses. Fatalities are still a substantial issue in the County.
What is your position on taxes and spending?
I am a fiscal conservative. We are very tight with our budget. But my office is not involved with those issues.
What is your position on a county tax cap?
As the State’s Attorney, my office is not involved in that issue.
What is your position on land use issues?
My Office is not involved in this issue.
What is your position on public safety?
My entire mission is to protect my community. I have noted my position in the earlier statement about why I am running. However, what separates me from previous administrations is that I do not limit my role in public safety to just prosecuting case. We rely on a strong, robust, trial-ready philosophy of prosecution that leads to stronger convictions and sentences as only one part of my approach to crime. As a comprehensive public safety agency, we also devote a substantial amount of time to education and prevention. I have taught well over 100 different classes to students on drug prevention, cyber safety, and teen-dating violence. I have spoken at over 125 parent seminars on drug prevention and cyber safety. Combined with our rehabilitation programs, we have created a comprehensive approach to public safety in the county.